SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna

Photo in the Public Domain.

SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna is part of the Tentative list of Belarus in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Kalozha Church in Hrodna is a 12th century example of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture. The varied polychrome brickwork of the façade is especially notable. During restorations original frescoes were discovered.

Map of SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Stanislaw Warwas

Poland - 02-Apr-24 -

SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna (T) by Stanislaw Warwas

Visited March 2024

It is going to be a very short review…

I really like this small tserkva, the Ortodox church, standing at the high shore of Neman river, in the central park/part of Grodno (Hrodna)! Its beginnings go back to XI century when local prince Wsiewolod Davidovic decided to build a church in honour to the first Slavic saints Boris and Gleb (sons of Vladimir the Great). How this place of cult looked when built? We do not know. But what we know is that the oldest elements of the present church are its northern wall, part of the western one with the entrance door (it was oriented) and part of the eastern apses. The decorated polychrome elements in the form of crosses on its exterior walls and the jars (photo) used inside as resonators make this church something special and unique… But is it enough to be inscribed as world heritage? The rest of the building was constructed (not even reconstructed) in wood in the second half of XIX and XX century. (By the way – the story of the building and its reconstruction is pretty interesting.) And they say that remains of similar tserkvas (with pitchers, coloured stones) were found around Grodno.

I like this church, but I do not think nominating and inscribing A WALL, yes, just a wall, ONE authentic and historical and unique wall, is the way UNESCO should care about local heritage. It makes me think of Bagrati cathedral and its reconstruction and presence on WH list.


Switzerland - 10-Sep-18 -

SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna (T) by Walter

The Saint Boris and Saint Gleb Church (Borisoglebskaya in Belarussian, but also called Kalozha Church), in the city of Hrodna (also spelt Grodno), in Belarus,  was built in 1180s on the high right bank of the river Nieman. It is a unique example of ancient stone architecture and is one of the oldest building standing in Belarus. The original walls were made of brickwork of different size an colors, including large colored, face polished, granite and gneiss stones, and figured glaze-covered ceramic tiles of various sizes, shapes and colors (blue, green, ras), which form various geometrical figures and crosses.

The southern wall and part of the western wall was destroyed by a landslides and the southern apse collapsed in 1853. Repair works were carried in the 20th century, with riverbanks being stabilized and the southern and western walls rebuilt using simpler modern materials, mostly wood. The end-result is peculiar with a church cut into two halves : an original complex bricks half (left on the picture) and a simpler modern reconstructed half (right on the picture). There are plans to restaure the southern wall to its original aspect however.

At the present, it is a small active place of worship, so dress modestly. I came on a Saturday morning at he time of the mass, to be sure to be able to look inside. Mass hours are written in front of the church. Visiting at time of mass is also very atmospheric, with priests singing holy incantation. It is withing wallking distance from the city center.

Getting to Hrodna, I rented a car, but bus and train seem to be easy to use. It takes three to four hours, so I planned ia as an overnight trip. The car let me make a few detours to tick two Struve Geodetic Arc WHS points, to check the very northern part of Belovezhskaya Puscha WHS and to see two « edifices of worship of Fortress Type in Belarus » TL on the way, and also drive to Augustow Canal TL. Driving in Belarus is not as bad as described in most guidebooks. All signs are in cyrillic though, so check you final destination in that alphabet before hitting the roads.

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SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna
Religious structure - Christian
2020 Upstream Process

2004 Added to Tentative List

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SS. Boris and Gleb (Kalozha) Church in the city of Hrodna (T)
WHS 1997-2024